He never went to culinary school and hasn't trained under any culinary legends, but Jeremy Kane has reigned supreme in numerous cooking competitions and looks to add another to his list of honors when he is a part of Chowderfest in Saratoga Springs on Saturday, Feb. 6, as it celebrates its 12th anniversary.
So how did Kane score the job of executive chef of the Albany-based Classe Catering? He learned from who he considers the besthis grandma.
I cooked with my grandma from the time I was a kid; Thanksgiving dinners and all that," said Kane, who said he immersed himself in the culinary world however he could. "I took jobs washing dishes and as a prep cook in high school. After that, I traveled to Florida and worked at country clubs, hotels and restaurant."
Kane opened restaurants of his own in Cape Cod and Maine but felt an urge to return to his roots, the Catskills, so he moved back and said he's finally exactly where he wants to be.
"I feel like I've finally found a home; I love working here," said Kane, who has worked at 15-year-old Classe Catering for just about two years.
This is Kane's first time participating at Chowderfest. He's making a sweet corn and crab chowder, something he hopes will stand out from the traditional New England and Manhattan Clam Chowders. A competitive culinary atmosphere brings out the best in him, said Kane, and lets him see just how polished he is.
"I like to stay fresh in my skills and to be critiqued. I don't have an ego and don't think I'm the best; I just like to be compared to others, see what's going on, see what trends are out there and get feedback," said Kane. "Plus, it's pretty exciting to cook in front of a bunch of people."